New Delhi: In a setback for Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, the Supreme Court on Thursday quashed his review plea against a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into his disproportionate assets case. The court also ruled that the CBI will not report to the government, but will continue its probe against Mulayam and his two sons, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Prateek Yadav. Mulayam welcomed the order saying, "I welcome the Supreme Court order. It has done justice to us."
While Mulayam welcomed the order, his party's lawyer accused the government of misusing the CBI. SP lawyer Ajay Agarwal alleged that the CBI was being misused. "This is gross misuse of CBI by the government to victimise their other political party leaders and opponents," he said.
The Samajwadi Party also claimed that the court did not have all the documents submitted by the party. "The SC did not have all the documents that were submitted by our lawyers. I believe that is why the SC has asked the CBI to look into this case again in a more comprehensive manner," SP leader Ramasray Kushwaha said.
The petitioner in the case, Vishwanath Chaturvedi, said, "I welcome the SC verdict. I will make an elaborate statement after going through the full judgement. I don't think CBI will conduct a fair enquiry without SC monitoring."
Meanwhile, the government also faced flak from the Opposition with the BJP saying that the court order indicated that the government misused CBI. "The government has been misusing the CBI to get SP and BSP's votes in Parliament. In that light, the SC's order makes sense and the SC must have been aware of what the government was doing," BJP leader Kalraj Mishra said.
This comes at a time when the SP bailed out the government during the FDI in retail vote in Parliament by walking out. The government is now seeking Sp's co-operation in passing the SC/ST quota bill. Mulayam Singh happened to meet the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday. Sources have told CNN-IBN that the meeting was on the quota bill. Mulayam is opposed to the bill and sources say he refused to change his stand.
There was no relief for Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his sons Akhilesh and Prateek in the disproportionate assets case. The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the Central Bureau of Investigation can continue to probe allegations against Mulayam, Akhilesh and Prateek independently.
The court has ruled that the CBI does not have to report to the Centre in the case. Meanwhile, the case against Akhilesh Yadav's wife Dimple Yadav has been dropped.
"We are modifying our order of March 1, 2007 to remove the error in it directing CBI to place the report before the government," the bench said, making it clear that the agency will have to place the probe report before the apex court. The bench said, "Since CBI is an independent body", there is no obligation for it to file the status report before the government.
The bench said it is also not contemplated in the Delhi Police Establishment Act under which CBI functions that the agency has to file its status report to the government. "CBI, which is probing the case, has to decide what steps it has to take," it said.
Mulayam and his family members had said that there was no evidence against them and that they are being harassed by political adversaries. A bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice HL Dattu had reserved its order on February 17, 2011.
Deviating from the precedent of hearing review petitions in the judges' chambers, the bench had heard the petition in open court at Yadavs' request. Seeking review of the apex court order, Yadav and his family members had submitted that there was no evidence against them who are being harassed by political adversaries.
They assailed the apex court's earlier order claiming it would "set a dangerous precedent" of allowing political opponents to file "false and frivolous" petitions against their detractors.
During the arguments, the Centre, while refraining from going into the merits of the allegations against the Yadavs, had cited a number of judicial pronouncements to drive home the point that the apex court has powers to order a CBI inquiry in "exceptional cases."
Why the judgement is important:
- An adverse judgement against Mulayam will create difficulty for Mulayam to cooperate with UPA.
- Mulayam Singh will hold the government responsible then for using the CBI against him.
- With Mulayam's arch rival Mayawati having been given a clean chit in the Taj corridor scam and Income Tax evasion case, Mulayam will be keen to get his track clean as well
(With additional information from PTI)